didn't...like Slack or Quip


Senior Member

Over the past few years, I have seen many examples of companies that combine augmented reality, advertising, and sports, but most failed to impress me, because I couldn’t figure out what they were doing for me. They didn’t make me more productive, like Slack or Quip, and they didn’t provide fun, like Facebook or Clash of Clans.

(This comes from newyorker.com Pokémon Go Will Make You Crave Augmented Reality by Om Malik on July 12, 2016.)

Does the blue part mean "Slack or Quip made me productive, or Slack or Quip didn't make me productive"?

Thanks in advance!
  • dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    I think in old-fashioned English "like" would be "unlike", so it would be clear.

    Instead modern English uses "like" but allows the writer to omit words (ellipsis). The reader assumes those omitted words are present, in understanding the sentence. In this example, both "like" clauses have an omitted did:

    They did not make me more productive, like Slack or Quip did,

    and they did not provide fun, like Facebook or Clash of Clans did.

    How do you know a word is missing? Each "like" clause is parallel to the clause before it, so it needs a verb too. You can't compare "did not make me" with "product name". But you can compare "did not" with "did".
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